Luke has Darth Vader.
Harry has Lord Voldemort.
Batman has The Joker.
The people of Amity Island had a lovable shark named Bruce.
All good stories need a good villain; formidable foils to stand against our beloved hero, both physically and philosophically.
That same mindset of narrative duality has, in many ways, seeped off the movie screen and permeated our culture. If each of us is the hero of our own story, then it’s only fitting that we must also have a worthy adversary—a harsh boss, a difficult relative, a jealous ex…
Christians are no different. If the Church is to be the noble protector of everything good and just in our world, then there must also be an adversary. For many years, that role has been filled by Hollywood. In many ways, Tinseltown is the very antithesis of biblical values and morality—a powerful agent propagating dangerous and worldly philosophies to the masses through the seductive allure of the silver screen.
This past week marked the ceremony for the 75th Golden Globes, honoring the greatest in film and television last year. Unsurprisingly, with the spotlight cast upon La-La land, many Christians took the opportunity to reaffirm their enmity with their old foe.
The fancy garments, red carpets, and insincere smiles can all give off a nauseating stench of elitism, and the politically-charged speeches are often superficial and delivered into an echo chamber of an audience already converted to the ideologies or else too frightened to admit otherwise. Sitting through an entire Hollywood reward ceremony is enough to give anybody a stomach ache. Without question, there is plenty to lambaste the entertainment industry for…
…but sometimes Hollywood gets it right.
The 2018 Golden Globes was not really about movies. Like the elaborate set-designs on the Hollywood studios’ backlots, the ceremony was merely a platform to further an important discussion which has been sweeping across America. The exposure of Harvey Weinstein’s sickening predatory actions began an avalanche, sparking the momentous #MeToo movement and giving new life to the fight for women’s equality in an industry, and world, which for far too long has been slanted in favor of men. The progress made in the last four months can hardly be overstated.
But not everybody is celebrating.
Some Christians continue to construct a familiar narrative in which Hollywood remains the “Big Bad” in the story, seeming to take pleasure in the apparent self-implosion of Hollywood. Through blog posts, tweets, and Facebook memes, they have seized the opportunity to chastise the unsurprising moral decadence of industry. “Its great for Hollywood to finally get what it deserves,” they proclaim. And, for many, the recent California fires seemed almost too poetic.
I respectfully disagree.
The real story is not that there are a sickening number of perverts in the entertainment industry (the church and corporate world has churned out its fair share of them, as well).
The real story—or at least, the story I think Christians need to be embracing—is what Hollywood has done about the problem. Courageous women have spoken out about traumatizing experiences after years of being silenced, filmmakers have reshot movies to exclude the actors exposed of predatory behavior, and an entire industry has linked arms in solidarity to finally declare: “enough is enough.”
Hollywood has many serious problems, but standing up against sexual abuse and gender inequality are not among them. Shame on us as Christians if we—like a pre-whale Jonah— take more pleasure in the exposed corruption of “our enemy” than we do in the unprecedented progress to, at long last, attempt to make things right.
We should never forget that the true archenemy of the the church is not Hollywood—it is sin. So, let us not relish in the scandal and depravity of others. Instead, let’s rejoice and celebrate whenever evil and injustice are confronted, regardless of who is leading that charge. At the Golden Globes, Hollywood made its intentions toward sexual abuse and gender inequality unmistakably clear. As the church, we’d better do our best to keep up.
What about you? Has the #MeToo movement touched your own life? What narrative do you see unfolding in Hollywood right now? Let’s talk about it below!
*Remember: Disagreement is a welcome and healthy part of dialogue. Being a jerk is not.*